Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Saturday, 30 January 2016

I am heartily sick of this cough

It has been over 5 weeks now. During that fun time the cough has ebbed and flowed but never left. I was just beginning to look forward to feeling well when the worst of it came crashing back on Wednesday, annoyingly on the day I had chosen to visit dad. He and my sister in law were treated to 48 hours of me hacking and choking in explosive, exhausting bouts and whining weakly in between the said bouts. Grim grim grim.

It has got me down to be fair. I'm usually quite chirpy even when poorly but this last few days I've felt quite low. I suspect the worst spell of this relapse has coincided with my teary time of the month as I am close to tears at the drop of a hat!!

Hopefully this really is the home staight for the cough and I'll be able to crack on with life, dieting and exercising VERY soon.

Hopes of impressive drops on the scales have not materialised. To be honest this is only in part as a result of the cough. The football away days have to bear their share of the blame. So, in 3 weeks I dropped 4 lbs then regained 3 of them. Not a stellar January but not the worst it could be. Onwards and downwards in February!

I managed today's away day to Shrewsbury much better than last weekend at my sister's (with Saturday away at Reading). Last weekend was a bit of a free for all on the food and drink front and resulted in the 3 back on scenario. Today, while I have drunk it has been in moderation and I have chosen well off the lush looking menu, resisting contraband and genuinely enjoying my salad. Maybe I have turned the corner?

I do need more structure to the diet though. This hoping for the best is not going to cut it. Thinking cap on.

So, well done all who are seeing results and buck up the rest of you!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Still not 100%

I had been feeling better at the end of last week but regressed and was back to feeling like death again on Monday so another week of mostly working from home  to try and recover properly.  I generally get a nasty cold once a year and I'm hoping this is it for 2016!

So, still no exercise beyond dog walking and marching up and down Penistone Road to the football but I'm being very sensible with food and it seems to be paying off.  The dog walking is pretty hard at the moment as the fields are so muddy you're having to fight your way through.  But not the same as running.

After my less than hoped first week drop on Monday morning, the scales have reverted to their original, more promising level.  I have even managed an extra lb so, providing I stick to the plan and exercise restraint, I'm hopeful of a good week 2.  Come on 5lbs+ off!!

In other news, a busy week.  Monday was supposed to be dancing but I was too poorly.  Tuesday was football - a narrow victory over bottom of the table Bolton.  Tonight we are off to the theatre.  We bought tickets to Showboat at the Crucible  for Rich's dad and stepmum for Christmas and that's where we're off to later. Can't wait.  Tomorrow is french and then darts and dominoes.  Friday, a night off!  Saturday the big grudge match against Leeds and Sunday another quiz battle.

At least I have plenty to be getting on with while not eating too much!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Best laid plans

I did well at sticking to the newest diet on my block, right up to Sunday afternoon! Well, I did have a few treatets on Saturday but sensible ones. A couple of rums instead of pints of beer, a couple of chocolates instead of a slice of cake etc.

I even turned down a last minute invitation to a boozy night out, partly for calorific teasons and partly cos I'm still not 100% after my cold. Rich went out. He didn't really want to but our mate  wanted to celebrate a new job so he took one for the team. I went food shoppihg after the match and picked up a salad for supper! That's how much I was trying.

Sunday started well too. Cooked breakfast and long, hilly (well, as long and hilly as my pathetic lung capacity and soe toe can manage) dog walk. We were just settling down in front of the fire and some mindless FA Cup action when my brother rang. He and his wife and son were a few miles down the road at David Mellor swapping a defective Christmas present and would be popping round.

We had a lovely, surprise evening. Teas and coffees turned into a couple of drinks in the village (sparkling wine not beer) which then, after some lively chat, turned into an early evening curry in Hathersage. Hadi, being Malaysian, is very interested in food, especially spicy, Asian food. She approves of the curry house in Hathersage, a lot!  My brother and nephew also love their food so supper was a fun affair. Wide, unusual choices, lots of sharing and tasting and me and Hadi sharing a nice bottle of Sauvignon!

Possibly not the greatest last evening before a first weigh in I've ever had but no regrets; it was a lot of fun.

So, to this morning's weigh in. Predictably, I did NOT see the satisfying 4.5lb drop which I had been sitting on for the last 4 days. That had evaporated with the curry and Sauvignon. It was, however, replaced by a modest 1.5lb drop so no harm done. Hopefully I can achieve that nice "first" week big drop in my second week. Wish me luck.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Like a village on the telly

I've been working from home all week since Monday (well, apart from Tuesday when I was at home not working but sleeping).  It's been very pleasant.  The dogs and I have established a lovely routine of a lie in, a spot of work, late breakfast, bit more work, a walk around lunchtime and then a couple more hours before a nice hot bath to warm up after a day spent at a desk in an unheated house!

Picking a route for our lunchtime walks has been a bit of a challenge.  We've had so much rain that the fields are out (no fun slipping and sliding through the mud with a sore toe).  I'm running out of lane and road based walks which don't involve driving and we're getting bored of the same old routes. So today I thought we'd walk up to the end of the village where we used to live, climb up Bradwell Edge until the road turns into muddy sludge andthen have a wander around the little lanes and paths up there and a nosey at what's changed.  Although it's in the same village I haven't been up there for months and then only passing through.

It was great.  As we came into the middle of the village we were overtaken by a golfing pal, John so passed the time of day with him.  He works from home quite a bit too so we often see him taking his lunchtime constitutional.  Just passed the Co-op we got into step with Sean and were chatting with him about his upcoming move down to London for a new job.  We would have walked all the way up to The Hills with Sean but I was hailed by a couple eating fish and chips out of the paper in a tiny park.  It was only my old work colleague from 15 years ago, Jim and his wife!

They were out for a drive in the Peaks to spend their Christmas vouchers on expensive designer kitchen geegaws at David Mellor in Hathersage.  They're young retirees the jammy gits!  Shelagh and Minty demonstrated just how well-mannered they can be when fish and chips are in the vicinity. They sat with ramrod straight backs staring fixedly at each morsel of fish to leave the paper.  I managed not to drool as much as they did (don't think Jim or Julie noticed).

We chatted, caught up on various items of well out of date gossip and then they drove off and we continued.  We said a quick hello to Marla and Mouse and Mouse's daughter whose name I can't remember (Mouse is a very soulful brindle whippet and her daughter is the most stunning pale, silvery grey whippet).

Then we had a chat with the nice man who lives at the tops of the steps to The Hills (don't know his name but we always stop for a chat when we meet).  He has adopted his daughter's springer spaniel called Bess.  She's a very weird springer though, quite solid and chunky and blue roan like Shelagh and Minty which is unusual colouring for springers.  To be honest, she looks exactly like a scaled up Shelagh and Minty but with an amazingly placid temperament which is also unusual for springers.  Nice man remarked on how Minty doesn't change - she was barking and causing trouble as usual now that the fish and chips had left. Bess stared deep into my eyes as I stroked her soft, soft head and seemed to be asking me "why do you put up with her nonsense??".  I don't know is my answer, I just love her.

So onwards up to The Hills.  Minty had a run in with a massive cat.  She had climbed a couple of steps up to a house porch and the cat had been in the corner unseen.  I saw her suddenly start and make a tiny lunge forward before thinking better of it and retreating oh so casually.  As I rounded the corner I saw the cat and realised what had happened!!  Hahahahaha - coward!  She really is All Talk.

It's so lovely up there.  The views are fantastic and the little streets, snickets, gennels and lanes, some barely wider than a path, are full of charm.  Stone cottages piled up on top of each other with tiny gardens and yards which, in the summer, are packed full of flowers.  It is said locally that this area of Bradwell was built by tin miners who had moved up from Cornwall when the tin mines closed to work in the local lead mines.  It certainly has that feel, steep sided streets with close-packed, higgledy-piggledy cottages.

The paths we walked along used to be our quick, no time for a proper walk paths.  Today they felt exotic, fresh and special.

Just as I passed our old house a woman came out of a garden gate who lives 2 doors down from us now.  I know her to nod to but we've never spoken properly.  So what a great opportunity to introduce ourselves and have a chat as we walked back down the length of the village homewards.  As it happens, she knew me as she's the mother of a friend from Bamford!  I thought I'd seen him heading in that direction a few times.  And he's just moved to a house 2 minutes from us so that was nice news.

It's a rare day I go for a walk round the village and don't see someone I know or recognise but we don't usually have such a number of encounters and such nice ones too. If I'd seen a scene like that on Midsomer Murders I would have scoffed at the unlikelihood of it but now I realise, I live in a much grittier, more northern (and hopefully less bloody) Midsomer!

And I love it too.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Need to get organised

I'm dieting but without having proper diet food in the house.  So, when I get hungry, I don't have helpful diet-friendly snacks to help out.  I have had to tough it out and work out whether I really need to eat or whether I just want to eat.  After several months of unlimited noshing, it has been quite helpful to try and work through the tricky topic of "am I hungry or just greedy"??

So far, I have enjoyed the discipline, the whole not-eating, "I feel empty" joy which comes at the start of (yet another) diet.  I know that this joy will not last.  Really, I know this.  So, let's enjoy those few mornings when standing on the scales is not a chore but a pleasure.

Tomorrow I go food shopping.  Hopefully judicious purchasing will extend the honeymoon period for a little longer.

First up though there is "leaving the house" to cope with.  So far all I've done is some mild dog-walking and nipping to the Butchers.  Tonight I'm going to the PUB!  And not just any pub, our local pub which has been closed for a few months.   I will NOT drink beer and will stick to just the one glass of red wine.   My head will be clear for that dominoes battle at least.  Not that it matters much as we are solid mid-table going nowhere.

Rich's darts team, however, is top of the league so he's getting tense now that we've entered the business end of the season.  He's as serious about his darts as I am about the quiz team!  What a pair.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

It's sofa time

As a few people have pointed out, January is grim.  January with a cold is grim x2.

There is but a single ray of light.

All the new telly series which have started!!  It is the perfect time to be a couch potato.  Sherlock, Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise, Silent Witness, Endeavour.  I do like a bit of mindless televisual death and destruction/detection.

Now that the house has been de-Christmassed, it feels a little bare (every year) but we are soldiering on with the nightly sofa marathons.  Sadly most of these trusty series are revealing themselves to be the codswallop they have probably always been.  I think you start to 'see through' them after a while, even if you WANT to continue to love them.

Silent Witness in particular annoys me.  It has consistently good plots and characters but ruins them with quasi-political hysteria and unlikely occurrences.

Christmas Sherlock was just downright tosh - and dull.

Endeavour a bit slow to get going but entertaining.

Midsomer, well, some things never change.  Aaaah.

We'll have to wait 'til tomorrow to see what Death in Paradise will bring.

We will leave the sofa eventually.  In fact tomorrow we have darts and dominoes.  We are playing the other team from our local.  Our local which has been closed for a few months.  After a wait of a couple of months hoping that the pub would re-open, our team took the decision to move to the other pub in the village.  Typically, very shortly after we did this, the White Hart re-opened! The other team had decided to play all their matches away so can now move back.  It will be bittersweet to be playing 'away' at the Hart.

Still, next year we will be back where we belong.

In other pub-based news, my pub quiz team is Top. Of. The. League.  We have played 10 and won 10, the latest against our nearest rivals, the Bulls Head from Foolow.  Victory!!  Sunday evenings have never been so tense.  

So, there is still a tiny spark of life left in us.  As my cold abates I will fan it with healthful food and hearty exercise.  Honest.

Until then, I'm not eating much while (mostly) sitting on the sofa.  

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


It's typical: just as I'm fired up with dieting energy and zeal I'm stricken down with a cold/cough which looks like it's settling in for the duration.  It arrived on Christmas Day and got gradually worse over my week off.  It didn't really stop me doing anything as we didn't have huge plans (although our big day out in London was a struggle).  The trouble comes when you go back to work.  It is so much harder when you have to wake up early and travel for an hour and then concentrate hard and under pressure.

I did it yesterday as I had a long standing matter to wrap up before a deadline.  I held on until that was done and then collapsed.  Dragged myself home and whimpered quietly on the sofa for a few hours.

There was no way I could make it in today.  I feel like death and had migraine-like flickering vision for most of the morning.  Hopefully a nice quiet day on the sofa (now I'm finally out of bed) will help me get back quicker.

It's a shame though as I'm in the right place mentally to start exercising but don't think that would be a good idea physically.  So I need to "hold that thought" until I am strong enough to get back to running and the gym.

However, there is NO excuse re food and I have been very good so far (admittedly only for one and a half days so hardly worthy or a medal or anything).

I'm determined not to waver and to make this diet stick.  I'm going to drop 4 stone this year!  It will make our trip to the USA so much more pleasant and active.  It's going to happen.  Wish me luck.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Hey, it's 2016! How did that happen??

I'm hoping that 2016 is the year I wanted 2015 to be.  2015 started with promise. A steady diet with plenty of low key exercise meant that I slowly dropped a stone and 4lbs.  I began to feel confident that I had it cracked (ha!).  Then the rate of loss slowed, we went on holiday at the end of May and I stopped dropping all together and summer  and foot pain arrived hand in hand.  I fought the gains but without success.

Who knows whether I might have turned things around and managed to hold onto some sort of overall drop for the year if my mum hadn't had her accident but she did.  The second half of the year certainly put paid to any movement on the diet and exercise front (other than, sadly, movement in the wrong direction).

I am totally fine with this.  Mum and Dad were my priorities.  As you know Mum did not pull through after the accident and died in September and we're still so sad to be without her (although I know her relatively quick passing was a blessing to her and Dad in the great scheme of things).

Also, I know that I had to deal with my foot pain.  I could not contemplate a life without exercise in it and it was beginning to make golf and even dog walking painful.  So I had the operation and now I'm anxiously waiting to find out if it has done the trick.  Although the bony growth on my big toe joint has been scraped off (sorry), the wound has healed and the toe is more mobile, it is still stiff and sore. I don't know yet if this is leftover operation pain or if it is residual arthritis pain which has not gone along with the bony growth.  Keep your fingers crossed for the former please.

So, the hard truth is that I'm right back to where I started at the beginning of 2015, almost to the lb!  I suppose that is almost a positive isn't it?  I haven't actually gained any net weight this year.  Hmmmm, it doesn't feel very positive as I feel quite porky and unfit.

One way or another, foot pain or none, I WILL be getting fit and thinner this year.

I feel gym membership coming on.  Given the foot pain it is probably the most reliable form of exercise I can manage at the moment.  I'm actually looking forward to it after so long.  I think I'll get January out of the way though as gyms are always a nightmare in January!  And food (and booze) is about to become simpler and, just, less.  I'm also looking forward to that in a strange sort of way.

Luckily, I have an excellent incentive for this task.  As we finally have a little spare money this year, we are looking forward to a special holiday.  Ideally, I wanted South Africa and safari but this didn't appeal to Rich so we have reached a compromise on an active, outdoorsy trip to the west side of America.  Specifically Arizona, Utah and California.

The problem with this is the sheer number of wonderful places to visit and the lack of 3 spare months within which to see them all.  We have a list which includes whale watching, the Grand Canyon(natch), Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, golf in Arizona (ideally Dove Mountain but anywhere would be good), Canyonlands National Park, possibly San Francisco, possibly Napa Valley, possibly Las Vegas, possibly the Arches National Park....something is going to have to give.

Has anyone been to this area?  If so,what were your highlights?  What could you have lived without?  ANY recommendations would be gratefully received while we're at the planning stage but please don't comment just before we go and say - oh, you really must nip up to X or Y!!

So, in order to get the best out of this great trip, I WILL be considerably smaller by the time we go (probably October or November for the cooler weather).

In the meantime, what news of Christmas and New Year?  As my Dad had a houseful for Christmas, we stayed at home and entertained Rich's mum.  I had worked right up to Christmas Eve (never again) so my preparation was late and somewhat rushed.  It didn't stop us having a lovely and very relaxed day but I would have enjoyed more time to do the optional extras.  Next year maybe.

Football on Boxing Day and a fabulous home win against Birmingham City.  Over to Lincoln for a hectic family meal and presents on the Sunday - 14 for dinner catered by my sister and her eldest daughter, Liz - not me for a change.  Monday was a trip to Middlesbrough (the glamour) for the football.  This time a disappointing 1-nil defeat but a good trip nonetheless.

Tuesday a gorgeous sunny dog walk up on Stanage Edge and some relaxation.  Wednesday a rainy day so chores and trying to get some pictures hung (with limited success) and a friend over for supper.  I cooked a turkey lasagna for the first time and was surprised and impressed with the result; definitely to be repeated with next year's leftovers.

We went over to my Dad's for New Year's Eve as everyone else had by now gone home.  As we've all been stricken with colds and coughs it was a quiet night in the local but it was a pleasant night anyway and I think Dad enjoyed himself.  I wouldn't have left him alone on his first solo NYE!!

Today we have just ventured home and parked ourselves in front of the darts (well, I cooked a scrummy cottage pie too).  Tomorrow we're off to London for the football (Fulham).  A long day starting at 6.15 and home by midnight but I'm looking forward to it.  We had a similar day out for the Charlton game and it was a cracker!

Not sure if these Christmas photos will post but if they don't will try again later - get me, Rich and dogs in full Sheffield Wednesday/Christmas regalia!